San Diego’s Needle-Exchange Program Operating Illegally, Should Be Replaced With Treatment Programs, Editorial Says
San Diego's needle-exchange program, which the city council on July 18 failed to renew for the first time since it began four years ago, is now operating illegally and "should be halted immediately," a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial says. Needle exchanges are based on "the tragically flawed premise that instead of stopping illegal intravenous drug abuse, government should work simply to make the practice less harmful to addicts," the editorial says, adding that the programs "ignore the cruel reality that there simply is no way to make shooting up safe." Even residents of neighborhoods where the programs operate believe the initiative sends a "very destructive message to young people" and perceive an increase in criminal activity near the site locations, according to the editorial. Rather than implementing the "misguided experiment" of dispensing clean needles, the government should provide drug treatment programs to help injection drug users stop their "deadly habit," the editorial says (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.